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Take Charge! 7 Tips for Being a Smart Credit Card Holder

To most personal finance experts, credit cards are straight evil, and while I tend to err on the side of, “Yes, credit cards are no good, at all,” there are a few ways to use credit cards to your advantage rather than getting “had” by them. Creditcards.com reports that, “nearly two in five Americans (39 percent) carry credit card debt from month to month, as of March 2012.” And they also report that “the average credit card debt per U.S. adult, excluding zero-balance cards and store cards: $4,878.”

While credit cards often spell trouble more times then not, there can be good things about them if they are used responsibly. Not only can you boost your credit score with on-time payments, but you can also simplify your life.

Click through for 7 tips for being a smart credit card holder …

  • 7 Tips for Being a Smart Credit Card Holder 1 of 8
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    Image source: flickr

  • Divide and Conquer 2 of 8
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    If you have multiple credit cards, designate a purpose to each one of them. Use one only for groceries and household expenses, use another only for online purchases, and use another for gasoline and vehicle maintenance. This will better equip you for tracking expenses each month for better budgeting.

     

    Image source: flickr

  • Reap the Rewards 3 of 8
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    The credit card that is designated as a high-use card, such as the one for weekly gas fill-ups should be the one that gains the most rewards for use. A cash back card is a great one to use for frequent purchases. Match rewards with each card's purpose.

     

    Image source: flickr

  • Spend on Credit Only What You Have In Cash 4 of 8
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    The responsible way to use a credit card involves having the cash on hand to back up every credit card purchase you make. If you spend $100 on credit, be sure to put that amount of cash into your checking account so you can pay for the bill on time and in full.

     

    Image source: flickr

     

  • Small Transactions, Full Payments 5 of 8
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    For credit cards that you don't use very often, keep them active by using once or twice a month for a small purchase. Then pay off the balance before the end of the billing cycle. This will keep your credit card in good standing and not at risk of having the account closed.

     

    Image source: flickr

  • Keep Most Accounts Open 6 of 8
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    If at some point in your life you went overboard on credit cards and have more than you need, you must be very selective in closing accounts. If you close accounts that you've had for a long time, you'll hurt your credit score by reducing the length of your credit history. 

     

    Image source: flickr

  • Check with the Concierge 7 of 8
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    If your credit card company offers customer services, take advantage of them. You may get savings for things you regularly purchase just by using your card. Know what benefits and extras your credit card company offers, and use them to your advantage.

     

    Image source: flickr

  • Read Your Statements 8 of 8
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    Whether you get your credit card statements online or through the mail, make sure you review every line of the statement each month. If your credit card information was stolen and you are racking up charges for someone else, you need to know this. It may be possible for mistakes to be made regarding your account that need to be repaired. 

     

    Image source: flickr

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